A NOTE template for students devised by Dr Melanie Thorley from years of research and experience. (NOTE = Notetaking Optimising Thorley Effectiveness.)

Notetaking at university can be a very important skill for the majority of students. Unlike in the United States, where the Cornell notetaking system is taught to students, notetaking in the UK has not followed suit.

The NOTE template for students was devised as a result of fifteen years providing note taking support to D/deaf and disabled students, five years working in widening participation and six years of postgraduate study. The template is also part of the S4IL (skills for independent learning) study skills project which has been devised for students within the Access and Widening Participation team at the University of Greenwich.

The NOTE template can be used for taking notes in lectures, seminars, tutorials, etc., as well as notes taken from books, audio and/or video. Conventional A4 lined paper, or a digital/electronic device such as a laptop, netbook, tablet, etc. can be used, depending on the student's preferred method of notetaking.

Notes should be in summary form and long sentences avoided. Students should only write on one side of the page if using paper and pen - as this makes revising and reviewing easier. Use conventional abbreviations, notations, and symbols wherever possible.

Unlike the Cornell method which is popular in the U.S., this system is linear which most students are most familiar with. Whilst this system has been developed for students in higher education, it is appropriate for students at all levels of education who need to take notes for their classes.

The blank (white) spaces in the text are for students to add to after the session. This can be very important as research has shown that students who do not receive any notetaking training only capture about 40% of the information given in lectures etc. This should enhance recall and gives the student the opportunity to integrate their own notes with the information given during the teaching session, or from an academic journal paper.

A summary sheet at the end of each set of notes is also useful and recommended as part of using the NOTE template.

Dr Melanie Thorley
STAART Manager
Student Wellbeing Service

07931 226599

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.